Download ACM Turing Award Lectures : The First Twenty Years : 1966 to by Susan Graham and Robert Ashenhurst (Edited and Introduction PDF

By Susan Graham and Robert Ashenhurst (Edited and Introduction by)

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Additional info for ACM Turing Award Lectures : The First Twenty Years : 1966 to 1985 (ACM Press Anthology Series)

Sample text

The control within A could be written when P then S; P is a predicate which is always, within some defining scope, under test. Whenever P is true, the computation under surveillance is interrupted and S is executed. We wish to mechanize this construct by testing P whenever an action has been performed which could possibly make P true, but not otherwise. We must then, in defining the language, the environment and the evaluation rules, include the states which can be monitored during execution. From these primitive states others can be constructed by programming.

Here the diversity has beer so large that I must confine myself to a few stepping stones. I am painf`ully aware of the arbitrariness of my choice, and I beg you not to draw any conclusions with regard to my appreciation of the many effort s that will have to remain unmentioned. In the beginning there was the EDSAC in Cambridge, England, and I think it quite impressive that right from the start the notion of a subroutine library played a central role in the design of that machine and of the way in which it should be used.

This challenge, viz. the confrontation with the programming task, is so unique that this novel experience can teach us a lot about ourselves. It should deepen our understanding of the processes of design and creation; it should give us better control over the task of organizing our thoughts. If it did not do so, to my taste we should not deserve the computer at all! It has already taught us a few lessons, and the one I have chosen to stress in this talk is the following. We shall do a much better programming job, provided that we approach the task with a full apprecia30 EDSGER W.

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